Bill McNamara publishes book of poetry
In 2019, horticulturalist Bill McNamara retired from the Quarryhill Botanical Garden in Glen Ellen (now the Sonoma Botanical Garden), where he served as executive director. Known for his expeditions and plant discoveries in China, Japan, India, Nepal, etc., he received honors from many sources, including the Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain. He continues to write articles for horticultural journals and lectures widely.
What is less known about McNamara is that he is also a poet. His poems reflect his unbound love for nature, from the high peaks of Tibet and Nepal to the wildflowers of Sonoma’s Valley of the Moon. Through his poems, one can follow McNamara in his plant expeditions, reflect with him on the passing of time, share his love for “Jojo,” his wife Joanna — who illustrated the book — and mourn the destruction of nature. The poems are imbued with the author’s keen sense of observation, his sincerity, humor, and playful love of language.
“Rich with the music of the mountain peaks and slopes that he knows so well, McNamara’s poetry sings of love and hope in an age that is challenging beyond any we have known, and yet one in which we must find a common path to survival,” said Dr. Peter Raven, president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Mo., regarding McNamara’s work.
McNamara will be reading a selection of his poems from his new book, Collected Poems: The Later Years, on Wednesday, July 13, at Readers Books in Sonoma. There will be a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by the reading at 6 p.m.